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French School "Workshop!"

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  • #41
    Judging by this thread and the lack of videos supplied by the critics, I'm filing countered walk in the same category as unicorns.

    Comment


    • #42
      I thought the counted walk work was exactly what I had learned in terms of the times he did them however...

      11 minutes of counted walk and piaffe and reining back?

      I would have wanted to see the other versions of walk and maybe all three gaits in between to confirm the horse was really forward before I would be on board with constant compression of the horse at almost a standstill while it also showed me lots untrue gaits in between (lateral).

      Letting a horse down the rein and over the topline is imperative to me in between this work that is so easily backwards if you are not careful.

      Also think if the horse was not already muscular how would this work connect the horse from poll through the back? I dont see that being enough in terms of getting the horse muscled properly.

      When we do counted walk we do a transition from it most of the time such as canter or back to medium walk or extended.

      I will also trot from it but because I dont want too much piaffe sit just yet I wont do it often.

      Early piaffe can have some serious drawbacks if you dont use it rarely and VERY correctly.
      ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
      http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

      Comment


      • #43
        Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
        11 minutes of counted walk and piaffe and reining back?
        He clearly changed tempo frequently and the stuff that wasn't counted walk to piaffe was edited out. Did you miss the parts where he gives away the rain and the videoing is stopped? Rhetorical question.

        Comment


        • #44
          "When we do counted walk we do a transition from it most of the time such as canter or back to medium walk or extended."

          Could the counted walk be about connecting to the horses feet? seeing that the main detail of the exercise to is take each step distinctly and teaching the rider to pay attention to it? And when the horse knows that the rider is paying attention to this, they try to get with the rider?

          NOMIO,
          Yes, I use the medium and extended walk also, to refresh the idea of forward but still keeping the distinct footfalls separate and the focus of my attention. I transition from slow walk to medium and extended but I do not throw away the idea of each step being separate. I don`t do anything with the horses head with this exercise. I get great results, mostly mental changes from horses, so I must be doing something right.

          Re-runs, coming now from a beginners mind (zen) and digging in the D& CT`s for additional answers.

          Comment


          • #45
            Well, I checked this out with Swampy in a PM, to make sure I was on the right track, so I'll post.

            In this Phillippe Karl video between :50 and 1:14 he is doing Spanish walk.

            I think of the counted walk as the baby version of this, without the extreme elevation of the forelegs. Under this Spanish walk--and in a couple of individual steps in which the foreleg doesn't happen to lift so high--you can see the tempo (that wedding march tempo), the elevation of the withers, the tendency to diagonalization of the gait (but NOT lateralization) and the "beat" of the hind legs, which--assuming I've ever actually gotten a step or two, since my attempts are secretive and will never be videoed! --feels to me like a quick drop and lift in the hindquarters at the point in the wedding march that you would slide forward.

            As Swampy said, we're all probably making it too complicated, but I thought this video might give people a visual of where the counted walk goes to, at the extreme, and how it's different from a working four-beat walk.

            Feel free to bash me into the ground if you think I'm wrong, but we do clearly need some visuals.
            Ring the bells that still can ring
            Forget your perfect offering
            There is a crack in everything
            That's how the light gets in.

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            • #46
              Originally posted by alicen View Post
              He clearly changed tempo frequently and the stuff that wasn't counted walk to piaffe was edited out. Did you miss the parts where he gives away the rain and the videoing is stopped? Rhetorical question.
              Tempo? Throwing the reins away isnt a transition imo

              Im talking something that is not collected and not just leave horses to his own device but something in between?

              Or were you bein sarcastic?
              ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
              http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

              Comment


              • #47
                Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
                11 minutes of counted walk and piaffe and reining back?

                I would have wanted to see the other versions of walk and maybe all three gaits in between to confirm the horse was really forward before I would be on board with constant compression of the horse at almost a standstill while it also showed me lots untrue gaits in between (lateral).

                Letting a horse down the rein and over the topline is imperative to me in between this work that is so easily backwards if you are not careful.
                Once again, he did not "compress the horse" for 11 minutes. Only the counted walk and counted walk to piaffe was videod. It wasn't about the other gaits inbetween. Perhaps you could provide that for us.

                Comment


                • #48
                  The walk should not change TEMPO, it should be different walk lengths with the same TEMPO. Does the horse 'need' counted walk? Perhaps, but then the walk should be more clear/clean. The entire point of counted walk is to keep the purity, if not re install it while keeping the freedom and willingness to move into the hand. The fact the horse gets shorter shows that it is rider holding imho.

                  Spanish walk (to be good) must be absolutely pure walk or it is merely a trick of lifting the forelegs and leaving the rear behind. Not the purpose.
                  I.D.E.A. yoda

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #49
                    What I Did Today, How, and Why:

                    Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
                    Well, I checked this out with Swampy in a PM, to make sure I was on the right track, so I'll post.

                    In this Phillippe Karl video between :50 and 1:14 he is doing Spanish walk.

                    I think of the counted walk as the baby version of this, without the extreme elevation of the forelegs. Under this Spanish walk--and in a couple of individual steps in which the foreleg doesn't happen to lift so high--you can see the tempo (that wedding march tempo), the elevation of the withers, the tendency to diagonalization of the gait (but NOT lateralization) and the "beat" of the hind legs, which--assuming I've ever actually gotten a step or two, since my attempts are secretive and will never be videoed! --feels to me like a quick drop and lift in the hindquarters at the point in the wedding march that you would slide forward.

                    As Swampy said, we're all probably making it too complicated, but I thought this video might give people a visual of where the counted walk goes to, at the extreme, and how it's different from a working four-beat walk.

                    Feel free to bash me into the ground if you think I'm wrong, but we do clearly need some visuals.
                    WHAT I DID TODAY:

                    Rode my bay horse. This is an older QH who doesn't get ridden all that much, because he's very lazy and makes himself invisible in the pasture, much like a Cheshire cat.
                    He is certainly not a product of "equitation savant," he was banged around the world for most of his life as a guest-horse & schoolie.

                    We headed out, up the road in his lazy, Oh-do-I hafta leave the barn walk. This horse also has about 10,000 ways to resist, mostly resistances of weight rather than force, what JCR would refer to as "blockings" or "contractions." OK, time to wake up ol' boy:

                    Lifted my hands and vibrated the bit for the "high" mounted flexion. If you don't learn ANY other flexion, ever, this one may be enough! He raised his neck and withers, yielded his jaw to the bit, I gave in turn and we immediately walked on MUCH more supple in his whole front end. Walk lengthening. Repeat as needed several times. No dillydallying!

                    Lots of back and forth of his ears; we're conversing now. A little shoulder-in along the roadside, position then allow, NO pushing into outside rein, NO holding leg, he either gets off my spur with one little prod or he gets another "pulsation" of leg and spur. Disobedience, bulging, hanging not an option. If he tries to balance against something, the "thing" (leg or rein) he tried to hang on suddenly disappears. HE MUST HOLD HIMSELF UP. Now I've got his attention. Shoulder-in was good, reward with long reins and a pat as soon as he does it without changing his balance--which takes exactly 2 attempts. Now he's free-walking with an overtrack.

                    Opportune moment with a stripe painted on the road ahead:
                    Pick up my hands for "high" flexion of jaw again. Raise neck, raise wither, hind end by definition engages, and I help him by pushing my belt-buckle toward my hands a little. Horse seems to "grow" from 15.0 to 16.1 and you can feel his rib cage and chest expand. Shoulders free completely. Cadenced (counted) walk! One. Two. Three. Very expressive steps, each time waiting for my opening fingers (releasing the vibration) allowing him to "drop" it. Now he's enjoying himself and so am I!

                    We proceed on one of our normal trail rides, inspecting a portion of our local bridle trail system for downed trees, hanging limbs, loose rocks, overgrown bushes and of course meet with all of the above. Including a large hanging limb over the trail which I had to dismount and literally drag down over his saddle! This perturbed him not a bit. Most of the time, I leave him at liberty with his head carried low like the good trail horse he is, the better to see what he's stepping over in the weeds; but if at any time he gets strong, lazy, inattentive, or willful, he gets a repetition of "replacing the balance" the same way.

                    We did another counted walk and several more shoulder-ins on the roadside on the way back; this time on all 4 tracks and in absolute release of the aids. BTW, this guy is bitted with a "Western" copper-inlay sweet-iron version of a Baucher snaffle which is fairly thin and has a lovely curvature. Anytime he thought about "bearing" on it (and this dude can pull, believe me!) it disappeared into weightlessness, only to be replaced by the "vibrations" that elicit a flexion. "No further questions, ma'am!" We arrived home with him in a lovely balance, walking on at a good pace requiring no pushing or holding, and "listening" to his rider in a fun, lively manner instead of the jigging and pulling that was his usual going-home mode. Oh, and I'm sitting in your grandmother's fat, overstuffed foxhunter's Stubben.

                    HOW:

                    [I]Excerpt: U.S. Cav/Gordon Wright, page 77:

                    The ability to fix the hand in the necessary place, with a resistance exactly equal to the horse's resistance, and to yield the exact instant the horse yields, is the whole secret of "educated hands." Without this ability, the true art of riding, and the feeling given by a perfect mouth, are unknown.

                    Page 80:

                    When the fingers are closed on the adjusted reins, a well-trained horse, instead of resisting their action by contracting his jaw, relaxes it. His mouth partly opens, and when the rider's fingers yield in answer to this concession, he gently closes his jaw again, and slowly chews once or twice on the bit, as though feeling it, to be sure the rider has loosened the rein. This softening or flexion of the jaw should always precede the arching, or "direct flexion" of the neck at the poll, which will be discussed later. . . .

                    . . . "Vibrations" to relax the jaw are executed as follows: the snaffle bit is worked back and forth through the mouth by a soft sawing action on the reins. This sawing, or vibration, is produced by closing the fingers of the right hand, for example, while the fingers of the left hand simultaneously relax to let the bit slip an inch or so through the horse's mouth toward the right. Then smoothly, slowly and without delay, the fingers of the right hand partly relax, while those of the left close and slide the bit back toward the left."


                    Now that's about as infinitesimally as anyone I've ever read has broken it down. In practice--you just raise your hands to about the height of your waist for a second, without shortening the reins, and "pulsate" the contract/loosen sequence related above using ONLY YOUR PINKY FINGERS until you get the yielding of the jaw.

                    WHY:

                    Reading L'Hotte over supper last night reminded me that none of this training existed in a vacuum--or some rarefied university lab. It was developed in answer to the needs of the practical and particularly the military horseman, who must at all costs have INSTANT access to the COMPLETE powers of his horse without any argument. When you're crossing an open defile with a rifle squad shooting at you, no way Jose' can you be having a "discussion" with your horse about going forward FAST! Or steering. Or stopping and standing while you reach cover and return fire in turn.

                    The schooling was done early, took a few months not 15-18 years, and worked very well with almost any reasonably sound horse. State secret, that it was . . .

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #50
                      Originally posted by alicen View Post
                      Once again, he did not "compress the horse" for 11 minutes. Only the counted walk and counted walk to piaffe was videod. It wasn't about the other gaits inbetween. Perhaps you could provide that for us.
                      Let's not waste our time critiquing videos. Go ride YOUR horse and see what works for YOU, then report back. That's the homework!

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post
                        Let's not waste our time critiquing videos. Go ride YOUR horse and see what works for YOU, then report back. That's the homework!
                        My dear, decades before this thread was started one of my exercises was to slow the walk as much as possible while maintaining a 4 beat balanced walk, lightness, sensitivity, and a forward attitude. I always find it works wonders for eliciting the horses concentration, and, dare I say, amusement.
                        Last edited by alicen; Sep. 15, 2012, 07:35 PM. Reason: tense change

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by alicen View Post
                          My dear, decades before this thread was started one of my exercises was to slow the walk as much as possible while maintaining a 4 beat balanced walk, lightness, sensitivity, and a forward attitude. I always find it works wonders for eliciting the horses concentration, and, dare I say, amusement.
                          Why the negativity and snide tone?

                          Some people may never have heard of "counted walk". This thread helps to spread knowledge.

                          I saw it done on a huge (old type) Hanoverian 20 yrs ago by an Iberian trainer. The Hano had tendencies to have a lateral walk. The "counted walk" produced a beautiful 4-beat walk.

                          I did not understand what was happening (or why) at the time. I have learned (a lot) more since then.

                          Why the negativity? Why not embrace the power of COTH forum as a venue that helps impart knowledge?
                          Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                          Alfred A. Montapert

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by pluvinel View Post
                            Why the negativity and snide tone?
                            There's nothing negative about it. I was amused by someone telling to me to do my homework about something which I practice daily. And by the way, I totally agree with her enthusiasm for Donnelly's work.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #54
                              Originally posted by pluvinel View Post
                              Why the negativity and snide tone?

                              Some people may never have heard of "counted walk". This thread helps to spread knowledge.

                              I saw it done on a huge (old type) Hanoverian 20 yrs ago by an Iberian trainer. The Hano had tendencies to have a lateral walk. The "counted walk" produced a beautiful 4-beat walk.

                              I did not understand what was happening (or why) at the time. I have learned (a lot) more since then.

                              Why the negativity? Why not embrace the power of COTH forum as a venue that helps impart knowledge?
                              Now talking about lateral tendencies--ever play with a gaited horse? I've got a youngster, who's a particular project right now. (Not the one in my post above). He's a TWH who will hard pace if you get him tense; what we're TRYING for is a Running Walk to the extent of his powers, which are considerable. Now superimpose exercises like the Counted Walk on THIS scenario and you can imagine how much I wish JCR could see him! I am having SOOOO much fun playing with this! Never worked harder on my seat, and separation of the aids, in my life--he sure is making me ride him!

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post
                                Let's not waste our time critiquing videos. Go ride YOUR horse and see what works for YOU, then report back. That's the homework!
                                Okay, so I hopped on my last ride for the day, then I fed the farm owners dogs, and now I'll give you a report SY.

                                Attempted a little counted walk. Got one step, then one step, then two single steps. Took about 4 minutes.

                                This horse is generally lazy, (too much fdo. She's a peanut rolling power warmblood) and attempting counted walk kind of fired her up a bit. She found the mental attention, and need to keep herself upright, rather more than she was accustomed to. Despite that I worked on it for less than five minutes. (She kept turning her head around to look at me when I gave her the buckle for a break.)

                                Attempting trot and canter was a little tough as she wanted to shoot off with me a bit. Being asked to take one step at a time in walk made her want to go forward a lot when she had the chance. But any lateral work I tried she did rather more easily than normal.

                                I have a friend who owes me some video time, so maybe I can PM you some footage soon.
                                "Friend" me !

                                http://www.facebook.com/isabeau.solace

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #56
                                  Cool! If you get daring, ask her for a canter depart directly from your counted walk, but bring her back to walk if she falls out of balance or roots on your hands. Ask her to lift her neck and withers a bit first. When she's poised on her hind end, ask for the canter. (This falls under JCR's other tenet, "optimization of orders." More later!) Your mare sounds a lot like my guy--they like a lot of input, and once they get "addicted" to your new, lighter, way they are very attentive to the aids and a lot more forward.

                                  Now, for those of you looking for the flexions in hand, just found this:

                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vjQvThiccQ

                                  Lisa Maxwell is one of JCR's primary students and demonstrates these techniques very well. Please also watch Part 2.

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    However, they do not show flexions in hand nor the teaching of a demi arret. However, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VydN4...feature=relmfu has some use of a walk with a slowed tempo.

                                    Here is a little clip, however she skips steps imho http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFo92-yYpa4
                                    I.D.E.A. yoda

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                                      Here is a little clip, however she skips steps imho http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFo92-yYpa4
                                      This is the same type of flexions Ive seen done by my instructor a handful of times.

                                      On another note, I have not gone out and tried "counted walk" but do regularly work at walk and have had several moments of collected walk in which it feels as though my pony could reach up through his belly and smack me in the butt with his hind legs--it is a very distinct very clear difference from a medium walk or any other type of walk I know...and the tempo remains clear-four beat. Is this the feeling you get when separating the foot falls in counted walk? Or is it something much smaller?

                                      In my explorations at walk done on the buckle to begin--I usually wait for and feel for the hind legs engaging and the back to lift-round before picking up light contact--this is a very clear and distinct feeling for me-often surprisingly and not always very a gradual or subtle lifting/engaging feeling--when the shift happens its more like a wave rushing up to lift and carry you--and there you have it the lights are on and its time to proceed.

                                      On most days by the time pony has achieved a certain amount of relaxation, engagement , rounding over his topline and established a good working rhythm/tempo at the walk he is also softly chewing the bit--very often when I take up that first contact I can feel his tongue sucking at/working the bit--and this is the kind of light contact/connection I strive to maintain/encourage throughout my ride. The only way I know how to get there is 'relaxation/stillness' of my person--and being carefully aware of what tensions I have in me. This I think for the most part comes from the German School-Training Scale--rhythm, relaxation, connection.

                                      On most days when we are on the same page pony comes up in the bridle of his own accord--I do nothing "manipulate" him to come up in the bridle or his shorten his frame or lift his wither--and when we are good the contact and aides are exactly as you describe--simply closing of the fingers or subtle shifting weight. The leg aides are a whisper--but that is only when I am being very good.

                                      If I am doing something to cause him to "come up" then I am not consciously aware of it. If there is anything I struggle with its the urge to become tense in myself--at which point my tension disturbs him and things tend to fall apart at the point.

                                      Yesterdays ride finished on walking half pirouettes in which I have to really focus to be sure the hind legs are connected and not getting stuck--we are just learning so not something we have anything like perfected at this point. I suspect my own bodily tensions are the base reason we haven't confirmed this movement just yet.

                                      Anyhow--my alternative view of walk work.

                                      Oh and here is what I read:
                                      "The key to equestrian wisdom is to know how a horse works at the walk" --unknown

                                      With that in mind I will continue my explorations at the walk--though I fear I may never get to the counted walk.

                                      thanks for letting me post.
                                      Redbud Ranch
                                      Check us out on FB

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                                        Well I have ordered the book. It's interesting for me because my new pony is an interesting type, and less than 30 days under saddle. Being a Arabian-Connemara cross means she is sensitive but lazy, super smart, and dealing with the typical high head and high croup of the Arabian blood. Very different than the horses I have most recently been used to.

                                        Can't wait to hear others experiences, and read the recommendations in the book.
                                        Sorry for the hijack but where did the lazy come from?? lol

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                                          Sorry for the hijack but where did the lazy come from?? lol
                                          lol. I *think* the lazy comes from being an opinionated young mare who would really rather not work at all. She would prefer to eat bon bons, drink champagne, and be admired. She really is something else...
                                          On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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